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Students Retell A Fairy Tale

Every week, our Week in Rap Shout Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. Last week, we asked you to find a lesser-known fairy tale and retell it your way, in your own words.

The win this week goes to Park Hill Elementary School in Denver, CO. Mrs. Mills and Mrs. Fickes 5th grade class updated an old German fairy tale, bringing it into the modern classroom.

Our class read the old tale “The Fisherman and His Wife” in which the fisherman catches a magic fish. The fisherman’s wife is so greedy that she insists the fisherman return to the fish again and again, asking for more and more extravagant wishes. Her greed costs them any of the things she desired, as the fish eventually takes back all that she has asked for. As a class, we chose the updated setting, characters, plot points and details. Here is our retelling, simply titled “Abbey and Jack”.

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Once upon a time, there was a beautiful school called Park Hill Elementary. It had reached the venerable age of 120 on its last birthday. With so much history, students were often stumbling upon little bits of concealed magic and secrets. One day two bright students named Jack and Abbey were visiting the library to do a little last minute studying for their upcoming spelling test.

“Abbey, we’re never going to be ready,” Jack complained. “Why didn’t we study last night?”

“I tried to tell you!” Abbey exclaimed. “You said we’d be better off if we waited until right before the test!”

“And you listened to me? What do I know?” In his agitation, Jack started pacing next to the library stacks. He threw out a hand and accidentally knocked a book onto the floor.

“Ouch!” exclaimed the book.

The two students gaped at each other. Very carefully, they leaned over to examine the book on the floor. It was beautifully decorated with gold and silver scrollwork in intricate designs. As hard as they looked, they could not find a title among the curlicues. Each time they had decided what the picture on the cover looked like, it seemed to change, like water flowing through an oil slick. Abbey gingerly picked up the heavy tome.

The book spoke again. “Please, please put me back on the shelf. I’m an enchanted book that should never leave the library.”

“Let’s check it out!” Jack said.

“Ja-ack!” Abbey exclaimed. “We’re not keeping it. It wants to be put away.” She slid the book onto a shelf just above her head, next to a volume of fairy tales.

“How’s that?” she asked the book.

“Delightful,” the book replied. “I can see so much more from here than I could before.”

Jack whispered to Abbey that they should ask the book for a reward. She was reluctant, but finally agreed that they could ask.

“Can you give us perfect scores on our spelling test?” Jack blurted out.

“Go back to class,” the book intoned. “It has been done.”

As Jack and Abbey began their test, they were both astonished to see the words filling themselves in on their papers. And in their own handwriting! After scoring the tests, their teacher, Mrs. Mills, gave them both gold stars and held up the tests for the whole class. Jack felt thrilled to be given so much attention, but Abbey felt guilty, and she swore to never cheat again.

The next week, Mrs. Mills told her class that they would be practicing for the state standardized test by writing essays. The best essay in the class would win a prize. Abbey thought she could write a pretty good essay on her own, but Jack badgered her about winning the prize until she agreed to go back to the library with him and ask the book for another wish.

“Go back to class,” the book intoned. “It has been done.”

Again, when Abbey and Jack began to write their essays in the classroom, the words magically appeared on the paper. Each of them had a beautifully written piece that matched the prompt, used perfect grammar, and varied in sentence structure. Again, Mrs. Mills used both essays as an example for the rest of the class, and Abbey and Jack shared the prize; a massive block of chocolate with toffee.

The next week, when the math unit test was written on the class schedule, the temptation was too much for Jack. Abbey told him she thought they were both good students and they already knew what they needed to know. But Jack could not be swayed.

“I want a perfect score on that math test, Abbey,” Jack stated. “We have to go back to the book again.”

So the two crept into the library during their recess and made their request to the book.

Again, the book replied, “Go back to class. It has been done.” And again, Abbey and Jack received top marks on their tests. Mrs. Mills showered them with compliments and praised them for their hard work.

Abbey managed to keep Jack away from the book for two whole weeks. Then came the day when the state test was to be administered. Jack grabbed Abbey’s arm and dragged her to the library.

“This is happening,” he stated flatly. He pulled the book down from the shelf and rifled through its pages. “We need to score Advanced on this test,” he told it. “Better than Advanced!”

“Go back to class,” the book told them.

Jack sauntered back to class happily, but Abbey dragged her feet. When they received their booklets and Mrs. Mills began the timer, Jack eagerly flipped open the test. His face fell immediately. The book was empty! Not only were the answers not filled in correctly, but the questions were invisible as well. Jack and Abbey exchanged unhappy glances. It seemed as though their luck had run out. Now they would have to answer blindly and just hope they didn’t end up with Unsatisfactory scores.

Abbey counseled Jack after school. “We were too greedy,” she said. “We can never ask the book for a favor again.”

Finally, Jack agreed.

Just then, Abbey’s little brother Jace was walking into the library with his friend Sam. Jace was looking for a book about fairy tales. He accidentally knocked a silver and gold book to the floor while reaching over his head.

“Ouch!” exclaimed the book.

Jace slowly reached down for the book…

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Congratulations, Park Hill Elementary, and thank you to everyone who submitted their fairy tales! Don’t forget to enter this Friday’s Week In Rap Shout-Out Contest for a chance to win a shout out next Friday.